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Musicians, longtime concert-goers share thoughts on JITH hiatus announcement

On Wednesday, it was announced the Ohio Valley's premiere country music festival and a decades-long tradition, Jamboree in the Hills, is taking a hiatus next year.

On Wednesday, it was announced the Ohio Valley's premiere country music festival and a decades-long tradition, Jamboree in the Hills, is taking a hiatus next year.

Musicians and longtime concert-goers are sharing their thoughts on the announcement -- all with hope that the festival will return in time.

Roger Hoard, a member of the 1170 Band, a long staple on the Morristown stage, was taken by surprise by the news.

“The first thing I thought of was, ‘you know the guys that I've played with on a regular basis since 1983, I won't be playing with,’ and it's personal for me in that regard.”

“My reaction is exactly what Roger said, … ‘I'm not going to get to see my friends, not going to get to play music with my friends, that's my sentiment also,’" bandmate and musician Ron Retzer said.

Hoard and Retzer have shared the Jamboree in the Hills stage together many times over the years, and are in shock hearing Live Nation's decision to put the festival on hold while considering options regarding the future of the Belmont County site.

"I can't see it not happening, maybe this year, I'm thinking next year or in two years, something with transpire and start again," Retzer said.

That's also the hope for Raymond Duane, also known as "Spaghetti Ray," who's been cooking for campground for the last 12 years and attending the festival since 1996.

"It was devastating,” Duane said. “They are canceling a tradition like this in Belmont County, my first thought was the economic impact it will have on Belmont County. "

He says it's about the people and the bonds that are created.

"Jamboree in the Hills was more than just a concert, it was family, it was people that see each other for years during those couple of days in July," Duane said.

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